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The SANE Blog

Meet Jenni.

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Meet Jenni, a dynamic individual whose life is defined not by her challenges, but by her incredible strength and resilience.  

Jenni lives with Schizophrenia and is legally blind, navigating life with the help of her guide dog, Gretel. Despite facing multiple medical conditions, Jenni's spirit remains unbroken. 

“Schizophrenia has thrown me a huge curve ball. But it hasn’t and won't beat me. It has meant that I haven’t always been able to do everything I have wanted, but its has also meant that I have done some pretty amazing things, that maybe I would not have done without it!” 

A lover of all things creative, Jenni finds joy in singing and various artistic pursuits. She also founded and runs a Swish (Vision Impaired Table Tennis) group in her community. Her faith and church community have been pivotal in her journey, providing a strong support system. 

Schizophrenia has undoubtedly thrown Jenni some significant challenges, including spending much of her adolescence in psychiatric hospitals. Despite being told she might not live to see 21, Jenni is now 40 and thriving. Managing her illness outside the hospital has been crucial to her recovery, although she acknowledges it as a lifelong journey. 

One of Jenni's proudest achievements is learning to like herself. Early onset Schizophrenia had a profound impact on her self-esteem during her teenage years, but she has worked hard to rebuild a positive self-image. 

A common misconception Jenni faces is the belief that Schizophrenia is caused by drug use. Jenni has “never even smoked a cigarette”, let alone used drugs. She resides in a Supported Independent Living house, where the empathetic staff, many of whom have their own mental health struggles, provide understanding and support. She also receives incredible support from her mother and NDIS workers. 

On tough days when her symptoms intensify, Jenni turns to singing. It not only relaxes her but also helps manage her symptoms. She emphasizes the importance of speaking up about Schizophrenia to challenge and change community misconceptions. 

“I think it’s hugely important that people with Schizophrenia speak up. We can’t alter the community’s misperceptions by pulling a rug over it. Myself, I am proud that I have Schizophrenia. And I’m proud of the accomplishments I have achieved as a result.  

The thing that I’d like you to take away from reading a bit of my story is that no matter what Mental Illness, or other significant life challenges you are facing, there is always hope. And The Glass Is Always HALF FULL!” 

Jenni's story is a testament to the power of hope and resilience. No matter the challenges life throws at you, there is always hope, and as Jenni puts it, the glass is always half full. 

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